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Comment Re:Really? SCADA networks 101!!! (Score 1) 56

I agree with most of what you are saying, but I still don't see a need to completely isolate (physically) SCADA from other networks - it can be done in a pretty secure manner. For an example, in my country the National Grid System Operator provides access to its SCADA Network to distributors essentially by a giant VPN. If we didn't have this access we would be back to the days of ringing up the System Operator to do network switching by telephone.

The problem of IT running SCADA systems is a big one, I think that a lack of people skilled in all parts of a SCADA system (radio, electrical engineering, IT, networking etc) is part of the issue , which can create an opportunity for IT to take over.

Comment Re:Really? SCADA networks 101!!! (Score 1) 56

Yea... few things wrong with this.

1) Managers will want to see the data produced from a SCADA system. From the intranet. From home. From anywhere. Small utilities don't have 24/7 control centres, so they will have people operating the system from their homes after hours. You need to get real here. You will connect it to the internet, using secure methods. SCADA networks aren't often air gapped except for the radio links.

3) Yep, usually, but sometimes see 4)

4) You have to be a pretty decent sized organisation or a wealthy one to do this. Small utilities aint got time for that.

In the real world sometimes you have to make compromises on functionality, security, effort and cost. Sometimes a risk of less security is justified. Just make sure you know what to do when shit happens.

Submission + - Email Commandments? 1

solosaint writes: I am tired of explaining to people how to properly use email... So I thought of coming up with the "Email Commandments" ... I have 4 so far, anyone think of anything else that irks them or they wish everyone knew before they were granted an email address?

        1. Do not forward crap: if it is noteworthy to send to others, remove the forward form the subject line, clean up the text. If it is something you want to talk about that is trivial, post it on your blog, Facebook or twitter, email is for more of a direct communication.
        2. Do not put an image in your signature: images in your signature are super 90's geekness, not to mention it takes up valuable space and bandwidth (especially for mobile devices). When someone must look for a file from you, they will see an attachment on every mail from you. it screams newebie and begs for excommunication.
        3. Use BCC not CC. I don't want other people to have my email address so the next time they click on a rogue attachment I am emailed. use the BCC option when sending group emails, UNLESS it is imperative that everyone see who is in the "group" being emailed, for example an email to a few co-workers about a group picnic, who is going to bring what.
        4. Do not send things via a website. If you see something cool on the web, copy the link in the browser and paste it into the email you want to share with someone. If you use the websites "send to a friend" it gives the website owners your friends email address

Power Beaming For UAVs and Space Elevators 137

An anonymous reader writes "The idea of power beaming — using lasers or microwaves to transmit usable energy over great distances — has been around for decades. But recent advances in cheaper, more energy-efficient diode lasers have made power beaming commercially viable. LaserMotive, based in Kent, WA, is best known for winning the Level 1 prize of the NASA Power Beaming Challenge at the Space Elevator Games last November. In a new interview with Xconomy, LaserMotive co-founder Tom Nugent, who previously worked on the 'photonic fence' mosquito-zapping project at Intellectual Ventures, talks about gearing up for Level 2 of the NASA competition, slated for later this year. What's more, LaserMotive is trying to build a real business around beaming power to unmanned aerial vehicles, remote sensors and military bases, and other locations where it's impractical to run a wire, change batteries, or truck in fuel. The ultimate goal is to beam large amounts of solar power to Earth."

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We will have solar energy as soon as the utility companies solve one technical problem -- how to run a sunbeam through a meter.